The Fort St. James Sustainability Group pulled together a small rally on Sunday, April 6 with only two days warning, and during spring break.
It was “quick and dirty” according to organizer Brenda Gouglas of the Sustainability Group.
It was “a great opportunity to get together face to face in the real world outside of our computer terminals,” said Gouglas.
She said about 20 people came out to Spirit Square for the rally and she talked about the Joint Review Panel (JRP) recommendations for the Northern Gateway Pipeline, pointing out the 21 references which relate to Fort St. James.
Gouglas said she has been going through the 209 conditions stipulated in the JRP report and looked for anything of importance or relevance to Fort St. James and the proposed pump station.
“It was quite interesting to see us in there,” she said.
She said the rally also offered the group a chance to discuss the plebiscite going on in Kitimat, a non binding vote to determine support for the project going forward based on the 209 recommendations of the JRP report.
Residents of Kitimat will have voted on the project on April 12, after the paper goes to press.
She said the gathering in Spirit Square offered people a chance to share their own thoughts and ask questions.
“It’s not always so much what I have to say,” she said. She said there were some new faces out and the crowd consisted of teachers, business owners, retirees, seniors and landowners who may be impacted by the pipeline.
Gouglas said the Sustainability Group was not necessarily surprised at the decision of the JRP, as it seemed like a foregone conclusion.
“It was a disappointment yes, but not a shock,” she said.
The final decision to approve the pipeline still rests with the federal government, and while she said most who are listening to what Minister Joe Oliver (Oliver was the Minister of Natural Resources until early this year) and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have said about the project assume it will be approved at the federal level, they are waiting to see what happens with the First Nations opposition before the courts.
There is pressure on the federal government to delay their decision until after the court makes their decisions.